Animal Travels: Tenerife

Having just returned from a ten day holiday to Tenerife it seems fitting to make it this week’s Animal Travels location. Although I didn’t specifically go on a wildlife holiday Tenerife gave me plenty of opportunities to get face to face with the wildlife of the island.

StingrayThe first wildlife I came across was stingrays swimming around the rocks at La Pinta beach. Judging from the pictures that I took and from viewing the rays they looked like Common Stingrays. However, many other species can be found around the island such as the Round Stingray, Round Fantail Stingray and the gargantuan Roughtail Stingray.

Siam Park Sea LionsLater in the week, we headed to Siam Park which is rated as the world’s best waterpark. One of the biggest draws to Siam Park for me was the sea lions that were housed there. Although they are captive animals they are an easy view for tourists who are less into wildlife hunting and they appeared in good health and condition.

The absolute wildlife highlight for me was a Whale and Dolphin tour which was simply amazing. On the trip we weren’t luck enough to see loads of species, but we did get to witness two different pods of short-fin pilot whales, which are permanent residents of Tenerife. Seeing the whales in the wild is a truly humbling experience and makes you realise how much the oceans need protecting. On the return trip the captain of the boat headed towards the fish farms which are just off the coast as turtles frequent these farms. Surely enough we managed to spot a Loggerhead turtle bobbing along on the surface of the water.

Short-fin Pilot WhaleIf anyone is heading to Tenerife and wants to do a Whale and Dolphin tour like this, please use the Bonadea II. I can’t sing their praises high enough, they are not just a tourist money making boat, they are true conservationists with a passion for marine life. If you look through their Facebook page you can see how much of the ocean they have cleaned and how much they respect marine life. They are also a Blue Boat which means they are approved to take tourists on tours without disrupting the animals that call the seas around Tenerife their home. While on the boat trip we witness another boat which definitely was not a Blue Boat as they drove straight on top of the whales forcing them to dive under and also chased the whales.

Short-fin Pilot Whales are not the only cetaceans in the Tenerife waters. They are also home to Bottlenose Dolphins, Sperm Whales, Pygmy Sperm Whales, Humpback Whales, Blue Whales,  Bryde’s Whales and even occasionally Killer Whales. Along with cetaceans you can also come across Leatherback Turtles.

DSCN0174We also managed to make friends with an African collared dove who we nicknamed Marlon. African collared doves are popular on the island and are not extremely wary of humans so you may have the chance to feed one on your hands.

Speaking of wildlife that you may find in your apartment or hotel, I will make an honorable mention for cockroaches, considering we had one that kept us awake until 2am. If you have a fear of them, make sure you buy some bug spray from the local supermarket and keep it handy; and also don’t leave any windows or doors open at night as they will always find a way in.

On that note, if anyone is travelling to Tenerife, leave me a comment and let me know and I can give you some wildlife finding tips or just some general travel advice.

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